Gov’t asked to lift ban on motorcycle taxis

THE House committee on transportation has recommended to the.

Department of Transportation (DoTr) and the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) the lifting of the prevailing ban on the use of motorcycle-hailing services so long as they comply with health and safety protocols.

During their hearing prior to the re-imposition of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Metro Manila and other provinces, Samar Rep. Edgar Mary Sarmiento, the panel chairman, said committee members have unanimously endorsed the utilization of motorcycle taxis such as Angkas to augment public transportation.

Sarmiento said his panel did not immediately endorse the recommendation as President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte decided to shift to ECQ, which banned the use of all public transportation.

But with the decision to revert to general community quarantine (GCQ) starting Wednesday, the panel would move for the re-opening of all motorcycle-hailing services to ease the burden of the commuting public.

However, Sarmiento noted that strict health and safety protocols must
be observed.

Riders must be well covered from head-to-toe apart from the use of the shields previously required by the IATF-EID. Passenger helmets must be disinfected after each use and must be also equipped with replaceable headcovers.

Face shields should be also required for the passengers and like the riders, they should be only allowed to ride if they are fully covered to reduce any possibility of transmission.

“The panel sees the importance of providing accessible public transport now that we are  back to GCQ and many members of the committee feel that our motorcycle taxis could fill the gap  on our prevailing transportation vacuum due to the Covid-19 pandemic,” Sarmiento said.

Sarmiento said panel members favor the use of the motorcycle taxis because apart from the fact that it has a lesser risk of multiple transmission because one motorcycle can only accommodate one passenger, it is also easier to conduct contact tracing because all bookings are automatically logged into the system of the ride-hailing mobile app.

As an added precaution, Sarmiento said that riders should be required to undergo PCR tests and be certified as coronavirus disease-19-free (COVID-19) before they can be activated.

Passengers on the other hand should fill up an online contact-tracing form before they are allowed to book a ride.